Friday, 20 June 2014

Military History Photo Friday: Moroccan Uniform from World War One

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been researching the Moroccan Colonial troops who fought in the French Army during World War One. The British regiment I'm writing about meets up with one of these regiments at the Battle of the Aisne in 1914.

I'm having trouble finding information about their uniforms. It seems the more I look, the more variants I find. The image above shows reenactors of the 1st Regiment of Moroccan Tirailleurs (Skirmishers). Compare it with the previous uniform I posted and you'll see they're very different. I've also seen images where the troops are wearing a simple tan uniform with matching fez.

So I'm stuck not knowing how to describe my Moroccans. Memoirs from the British who fought at the Aisne don't mention the uniform. What's a historical novelist to do??? More research!!!

An interesting aside: the French government built the Grand Mosque of Paris as a thank you to the 100,000 Muslim troops who died fighting for France in WWI. Almost a century later, it's still one of the largest mosques in Paris.

Image courtesy Claude Truong-Ngoc.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maybe the different divisions wore different uniforms?

Sean McLachlan said...

Alex: Yeah, probably by regiment. I can't find a source for what the regiment at Aisne was wearing, though.

D.G. Hudson said...

The French know how to say Merci with class, don't they? That's interesting about the mosque.

As for uniforms, Alex's guess is a good one. It must confuse the heck out of the other side if they don't which uniforms are the ones to aim for . .
Great color in that photo.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.